Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bible marathon reading is a knock-out

From The Church Times-

AN ATTEMPT to break the world record for reading aloud, by reading out the entire Bible, failed after the reader lost consciousness while reading Jeremiah.

The reader, David Bathurst, who is 51 and has accomplished several feats for charity, including reciting the Gospels and the complete works of Gilbert and Sullivan from memory, said that he still felt positive about his attempt, which has raised £2500 for charity.

The current record for reading aloud stands at just over 113 hours, and was set overseas. In order to break this record, Mr Bathurst had to read for five days and nights, and was allowed only 20 minutes of rest after each four hours of reading.

Mr Bathurst began the Bible reading in St Mary’s, Barnham, near Chichester, on Wednesday of last week. Problems began during the Thursday night, when he was aware that he was losing consciousness for a few seconds at a time. “I rallied on Friday, but things really started to unravel on Friday night,” he said. “I kept reading, but I was drifting in and out of consciousness.
“It got to the point where I’d lost the notion of what I was doing, and couldn’t form a link between the words on the page and what I needed to say. The paramedics were eventually called out on Saturday. They said I just needed to sleep. I tried to go on with the reading, but I wasn’t making any sense.”

More here-

Jury finds Sewanee negligent in campus rape suit

From Houston

A federal jury decided Friday that Sewanee: The University of The South was negligent in handling a campus rape accusation but refused to award millions of dollars in damages to a former student.

The jury of seven women and two men awarded $50,000 in compensatory damages. However, the jurors found the former student — the plaintiff in the lawsuit — also partly responsible for the outcome of a rape complaint against him in 2008, and they decided the university owes the plaintiff just $26,500.

The plaintiff's attorney in closing arguments had suggested damages of more than $5 million.

The suit stemmed from a finding by the private, Episcopal-affiliated university that the then-freshman student was responsible for a rape. The university investigated, held a hearing and made the decision in response to a female student's complaint that the plaintiff, identified in court only as "John Doe," raped her in his dorm room after she had been drinking alcohol and was unable to consent to sex. Her statement in the rape complaint said she was prescribed mood-altering medications.

More here-

Post-Irene, Vermont looks at long recovery

From ENS-

Of the 50-some parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, Gethsemane Episcopal Church in Proctorsville, where the parish hall lay in unsalvageable ruins and the church itself slipped off its foundation, bore the brunt of structural damage following Hurricane Irene's heavy rains and flooding.

"We are still getting reports from isolated areas, mostly water damage to homes, and roads and bridges washed out, and there are still many areas where people are stranded," said Lynn Bates, the diocese's canon to the ordinary and transition minister, in a Sept. 2 telephone interview with ENS. "Other damage to church property may be minimal."

Hurricane Irene left more than 40 people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage when it plowed up the Eastern Seaboard Aug. 27 - 28, but rather than paralyzing the coast, the storm's massive rains and subsequent flooding have left communities in upstate New York, Connecticut, Western Massachusetts, and especially Vermont, isolated and in some cases still without electricity.

More here-

Judge: Church of the Good Shepherd Rector Must Leave

From Philadelphia -

After a protracted legal battle, Church of the Good Shepherd rector Rev. David Moyer must step down from his post as head of the Bryn Mawr parish, is reporting a Montgomery County judge ruled on Aug. 25.

Moyer will no longer be allowed to perform mass, administrative duties, or live in the rectory.

Moyer, 60, is known for his conservative views on gay-marriage, gay clergy, and the role of women in the church. He was critical of Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia Bishop Charles Bennison's stances on these matters, and barred Bennison from preaching at Good Shepherd.

The rector, who has been with Good Shepherd for 21 years, was originally defrocked by the Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia in 2002 for 'breaking communion" before unsuccessfully counter suing Bennison for wrongful termination in 2008.

More here-

Friday, September 2, 2011

Catholic donation to Episcopal cathedral

From National Catholic Reporter-

In a gesture of marvelous ecumenical solidarity, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has donated $25,000 to the Washington National Cathedral (which is Episcopal) to help repair the damage done by the earthquake in late August.

In sending the gift, Cardinal Donald Wuerl said, "It was with both shock and sadness that I learned of the damage sustained by Washington National Cathedral. The National Cathedral holds a special place in the hearts of all of us in Washington. So many recognize it as a national house of prayer, and indeed its magnificent Gothic towers are a reminder of our constant need to raise our hearts in prayer to God in the midst of all of our daily preoccupations."

Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III responded, "This gift from the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is a testimony to the fellowship that exists between people of different faiths; it makes clear the bond we share…" Repairs are expected to run into millions of dollars.

The National Cathedral is, in a cultural sense, the "official house of prayer" for national events in Washington, DC. It is where presidents hold their inaugural prayer services and where the nation gathered for prayer after 9/11.

More here-

Judge tells Rosemont congregation it must vacate property

From ENS-

A judge has told a breakaway congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania that its deposed priest and certain members of the vestry must relinquish parish property.
The ruling involves Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, outside of Philadelphia, along with deposed priest David Moyer and some members of the congregation.

The diocese went to court in 2009 saying that Moyer and the members of the parish were violating the Episcopal Church's Constitution and Canons by continuing to hold on to the property. The diocese contended that church's canons require a parish holds its property in trust for the diocese and the Episcopal Church.

"The diocese has sorely missed the Church of the Good Shepherd and all of the robust gifts its members bring to our common ministry," Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison Jr. said in a statement. "We look forward to our future together."

The statement said that members of the deanery which includes Good Shepherd have met with Bennison and the Very Rev. Ledlie Laughlin, Standing Committee president, and offered to help the congregation until a full-time interim rector can be hired. Bennison has appointed Assisting Bishop Rodney Michel to help guide the parish over the next weeks and months, according to the statement.

Moyer told the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper Sept. 1 that he was disappointed with Ott's decision, but would abide by it.

More here-

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Pirates made history, statement in 1971

From The Tribune Review-

When he reported to Salem, Va., in 1966 for his first season of professional baseball, Gene Clines lived with seven other black Pirates minor leaguers in a house owned by a black woman known simply as Mrs. Johnson. The white players stayed in a hotel.

Only five years later, Clines played center field for the Pirates in a game against Philadelphia at Three Rivers Stadium. Every Pirates' starter, including Clines, was black or Latino. Such an event had never been recorded in Major League Baseball.

This was 40 years ago today, Sept. 1, 1971. The Pirates were en route to winning the World Series, and the world was changing. Fast.

"You feel proud of being part of it," Clines said. "But it wasn't until a couple of years later you could sit back and think about what really, really happened."

Among Clines' young teammates sharing Mrs. Johnson's house was Dave Cash, who started at third base in that game.

"It was something for the ages," he said.

First baseman Bob Robertson hit 26 home runs during the Pirates' championship season and would have been the only white starter. But he was unexpectedly benched by manager Danny Murtaugh.

Robertson's initial disappointment would be superseded by the larger moment.

Read more:

Defrocked Episcopal priest loses bid to retain Montco parish

From Philadelphia-

A Episcopal priest defrocked by the local diocese must step down as rector of his Rosemont parish and vacate the premises after 21 years there, a Montgomery County Court judge has ruled.

The Rev. David Moyer, 60, said Wednesday that he was saddened by Judge Stanley Ott's decision but would abide by his order to leave the Church of the Good Shepherd. He said he hoped to become a Roman Catholic priest.

An outspoken critic of liberal trends in the Episcopal Church, Moyer was defrocked in 2002 by the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania after he agreed to become a bishop in a small, conservative Anglican denomination.

Bishop Charles E. Bennison, head of the 55,000-member local diocese, ruled that Moyer had "broken communion" with the diocese and the Episcopal Church by that decision.

Moyer had for years denounced Bennison's acceptance of same-sex marriage and gay clergy, and barred the bishop from preaching or conducting confirmations at his parish. Moyer also rejects the ordination of women.

More here-

Headed to church? Don't forget your iPad

From Seattle-

Over the last year we’ve seen iPads appear in restaurants, during meetings at work and even on-air on TV news anchor’s desks.
But what if they start appearing in church?
Kerry Allman is the Internet Strategist for the Diocese of Olympia, the Episcopal Church in Western Washington.

This week Allman took to his blog ‘Putting the I-T in Spirit’ and proposed just such an idea:

I may be going out on a bit of a limb here, but I would like to talk about using technology as part of the liturgical service. What I mean by this is the idea of using smartphones/iPads/Kindles for following along in the service.

With most churches already blogging, on Facebook and Twitter, as Allman sees it this would be the next logical step in spiritual digital communications.

Allman writes about one of the complaints he hears most often regarding his denomination’s worship practices and it is that there are so many books to juggle:

Now for us “cradle Episcopalians”, being able to navigate around a prayer book, hymnal and lectionary insert is part of the right of passage and joy (if I may be so bold) of being Episcopalian. But the reality is that cradle Episcopalians are a distinct minority. Many people are coming to the church later in life and many times from either another faith tradition or no tradition at all. So when a visitor with no background in the church suddenly has to wend their way through bulletin inserts, prayer books, hymnals (sometimes more than one) and anything else….well, the experience could be overwhelming and not in a necessarily good way.

More here-

In Irene's Wake, Diocesan Disaster Coordinators Play a Key Role

From PR News-

Millions of people were impacted by Hurricane Irene as it blasted up the eastern coast of the United States over the weekend of August 27-28. The storm caused at least 40 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along 1,100 miles of coastline, from North Carolina to New England. An estimated 2.4 million people were evacuated from areas where flooding and high winds threatened to disrupt infrastructure and destroy property.

Although major urban centers along the coast were largely spared, flooding in Vermont, Western Massachusetts and upstate New York has reached historic levels. Roads and bridges have been washed out, and this limited access has hampered efforts to repair electricity and other services.
Episcopal Relief & Development has been in contact with a number of dioceses along the East Coast, as communities begin to assess hurricane-related damage. Katie Mears, Program Manager for Episcopal Relief & Development's U.S. Disaster Program, first reached out to Diocesan Disaster Coordinators in affected areas in the days before the storm made landfall.

"The disaster coordinators are the first line of defense, in terms of disaster preparedness and response," said Mears. "These people are appointed by bishops to liaise with Episcopal Relief & Development and talk to churches about their needs and activities pre- and post-disaster. They're the ones encouraging congregations to create preparedness plans, which can help lessen the impact of a disaster, and following up when a disaster occurs, to get an idea of the level of damage and see what can be done."

More here-

Father Cutié to speak at St. Benedict's Church

From South Florida-

Father Alberto Cutié, the prominent former Catholic priest who made headlines in 2009 when he was spotted on the beach with a woman, will be visiting Plantation for a free talk.

On Sept. 14, Cutié will speak at St. Benedict's Episcopal Church about leaving the Catholic Church, an experience he recounted in his book "Dilemma." He will perform the liturgy and benediction at 7 p.m. and will give his talk at 7:30 p.m.

"Some of the issues he dealt with in his book, people have dealt with in this parish," the Rev. Robert Deshaies said. "Hearing him speak might help them find a place of resolution in their personal issues."

Cutié was a well-known Catholic priest in South Florida, appearing on television and radio. The spotlight fell on him for a very different reason, however, when photos surfaced of Cutié kissing a woman at the beach and in bars. He left the church in 2009 and married the woman, Ruhama Buni Canellis. The two have a 9-month-old daughter, Camila.

More here-,0,1277306.story

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anglican prelate plans visit to Zimbabwe

From ENI-

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is planning to visit Zimbabwe in October as part of a wider trip to Africa and hopes to meet with President Robert Mugabe to discuss a brutal dispute over church properties.

Williams will be visiting Zimbabwe as well as Malawi and Zambia as part of "a pastoral visit to show support for the Anglican church there," said Marie Papworth, media director at Lambeth Palace in London, the Archbishop of Canterbury's residence and office.

Williams has requested a meeting with Mugabe, but the Zimbabwean leader's office has not responded to date, Papworth told ENInews.

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been in turmoil since 2007 after renegade bishop Nolbert Kunonga, criticizing what he said were liberal attitudes toward homosexuality, tried to remove the Diocese of Harare from the Anglican Communion, the worldwide community of Anglican churches.

In 2008, Kunonga was excommunicated from the communion, but as an ally of Mugabe he and his supporters were able to seize churches and other properties. A recent court decision in Zimbabwe gave custody of Anglican properties to Kunonga, whose henchmen began harassing worshippers and evicting priests from rectories. One priest was severely beaten when he refused to leave his house, the diocese reported.

More here-

Trinity Church celebrates a history of mission

From Michigan-

Trinity Episcopal Church, a center of mission and outreach from the time of its founding until the present day, is planning a double anniversary this month, as well as appearing on the Historic Home Tour.

The historic church, located at 101 E. Mansion St., will mark its 175th anniversary as a parish and its 150th anniversary in its present building.

Festivities are planned Saturday, Sept. 17, with an open house for the community from 2 to 4 p.m., according to chairwoman Sue Lackey. Music will be provided by Brooks Grantier, organist-choirmaster; there will be photographic and memorabilia displays of the church's history and a video will be presented. Punch and cookies will be served.

More here-

Church Saved From Inferno

From California-

Firefighters were the saviors of one church in Temecula today.

St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church was saved from an inferno that came within a few feet on the property.

The fire started around 3 p.m. on Avenida de Missiones in a brush- and tree-filled field adjacent the church and the Temecula Creek Village condominium complex, according to Cal Fire Capt. Scott Moore.

The fire quickly spread to 2.64 acres in the 100 degree heat, the captain said.

When firefighters arrived, they found about an acre ablaze, with flames stretching 25 feet into the sky, he said.

About 20 firefighters rushed to the scene and kept the fire from the church and a nearby condo complex.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kenya: Church Warns Politicians Against Changing the Law

From Kenya-

The Anglican Church has accused political leaders of trying to change the constitution using shortcuts. Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa said the country is superior to individuals who are out to satisfy their selfish interests in introducing or deleting clauses in the Bills without public scrutiny.

He called on the government to follow the constitution in implementing it. He said Kenyans expect to fully benefit from the constitution they overwhelmingly voted for in the referendum. "Kenyans read and understood the constitution before they voted for it. They know what is expected from the constitution. Leaders therefore should not try to use shortcuts for their personal interests," said Bishop Kalu.

He was speaking after a harvest festival service at ACK Mombasa Memorial Cathedral where he led the thanksgiving service ahead of the ASK Mombasa International Show this week. The church yesterday received food aid worth close to Sh100 million from partners abroad. Some 4,000 families in Mombasa will receive food from the church in the next five months.

Washington National Cathedral set to reopen for 9/11 anniversary weekend

From ENS-

Washington National Cathedral, closed since it sustained damage following an Aug. 23 magnitude-5.8 earthquake, is set to reopen for a series of events planned for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The building suffered further damage over the weekend from Hurricane Irene, whose high winds caused loose masonry to fall from the building and further displaced some of the pinnacles, said Joseph Alonso, the cathedral's mason foreman, during a live webcast on Aug. 29.

Several teams of architects and structural engineers have been called in to assess the damage to the building, Andrew Hullinger, the cathedral's senior director for finance and administration, said during the webcast. "The engineers tell us that they believe the cathedral building is structurally sound," he said. "The bad news is that we have sustained some serious damage to the exterior and the pinnacles [and]…some compression fracturing to the buttresses.

More here-

Federal judge temporarily blocks Alabama illegal immigration law

From Global Post-

A federal judge on Monday temporarily put on hold Alabama's tough new immigration law. The law was set to go into effect on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn said that she needed more time to consider lawsuits filed against the law by the Obama administration, bishops from Alabama’s Catholic, United Methodist and Episcopal churches and civil-rights groups, according to the Associated Press.

Monday's ruling did not address whether Blackburn thinks the law is constitutional, and all or part of the law can still go into effect. Blackburn now has until September 28 to issue a longer ruling, and her temporary hold will remain in effect until the day after, the AP said.

More here-

Priest treasures ground zero duty that took toll on his health

From Milwaukee-

Tom Winslow still remembers what he came to understand as a "ministry of presence."

A chaplain for the Milwaukee FBI office, he spent a week at ground zero in New York in November 2001, working out of St. Paul's Chapel, a block from the World Trade Center site. Winslow presided over a daily religious service and talked to law enforcement officers who were dealing with the unimaginable.

He learned that simply by being dressed in clerical collars or hats that identified them as chaplains, Winslow and others were able to comfort people who perhaps were reluctant to ask for help but were calmed by the presence of clergy.

One day, he took an FBI agent to a makeshift memorial that featured a large photo of John P. O'Neill, head of security for the World Trade Center. She knew O'Neill, who died in the attack.

"All I did right then was stand there and hold her as she cried," he said.

The bond among those working at ground zero was instant, and when his tour of duty ended, Winslow was reluctant to leave.

He had no idea that he likely was taking tiny pieces of ground zero home with him.

More here-

For Virginia town at epicenter of earthquake, near miss by Irene is proof they’re not cursed

From The Washington Post-

Staring out at her shell-shocked congregation Sunday, the Rev. Marian Windel felt the need to reassure her flock that God was not “mad at us in any way.”

“For us, this past week has been trying at the least,” the Episcopal minister said, her clear voice echoing off the high-pitched ceiling of the Church of the Incarnation, Mineral’s oldest house of worship. “There was little, if anything, that we could have done to prepare for the earthquake. And who would have thought it would be followed by a hurricane?”

This little town of about 400 was the epicenter of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake Tuesday that rattled the east coast, opening cracks in the Washington Monument and awakening the region to fears they had previously believed a West Coast plague. As Hurricane Irene steamed up the coast, its eye drifting farther westward with each passing day, some in this old mining town northwest of Richmond feared the winds would finish the work the temblor had started.

More here-

NEW YORK: Five nominees announced for bishop coadjutor

From ENS-

The Episcopal Diocese of New York has selected two priests, two cathedral deans and one bishop to stand for election as bishop coadjutor.

The nominees are:
the Very Rev. Peter Eaton, 53, dean of St. John's Cathedral in Denver, Colorado;
the Rev. Cathy Hagstrom George, 55, priest-in-charge of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts;
the Rev. Canon John T. W. Harmon, 47, rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.;
the Very Rev. Tracey Lind, 57, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio; and
the Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, 58, bishop-in-charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.

The election will be held on Oct. 29 and the consecration is scheduled for March 12, 2012, both at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York.

"We believe the guidance of the Holy Spirit has been truly present as evidenced by the quality of the nominees we are presenting to the diocese. Each of them is remarkable," the committee to elect a bishop said in its Aug. 29 report. "While they do not share the same story or journey, they all share of the One Body and the One Spirit. We are honored that all five of them have agreed to stand for election."

Seven meetings from Oct. 11-14 will be held for members of the diocese to become acquainted with the nominees. Biographical information about the five candidates is available here. The diocese will accept nominations by petition until Sept. 15, according to the release.

More here-

Monday, August 29, 2011


From ABC

It is the oldest and largest of the 23 Australian dioceses, and until its recent catastrophic financial losses, was the richest. It is also the most conservative, and is strident in defence of that conservatism.

But how could Sydney Diocese be a threat to the international Anglican Communion? After all, Australia, with just 3.7 million Anglicans according to the 2006 census - the same number as those Australians who claimed no religion - should be but a small player among the 80 million world Anglicans.

Yet in the first decade of the twenty-first century, under the leadership of Archbishop Peter Jensen, Sydney Diocese has become a force to be reckoned with in the Anglican Communion. As a leader of the alternative international Anglican movement focused in the Global Anglican Future (GAFCON) project, his diocese became what can only be described as a destabilizing influence.

This is just the public face of its international influence, however - an influence that has been steadily and quietly expanding below the radar for several decades through the leadership of key Sydney people in a range of global ministry programs.

Previously, the diocese had attracted the interest, even fascination, of well-informed Anglicans in different parts of the world because of its unique reputation as an extremely conservative, hard-line monolithic Evangelical centre.

It was not viewed with concern, however, because it seemed to inhabit an isolated, inward-looking world of its own. And it was still recognizably Anglican, requiring prayer book services, liturgical robes and the other hallmarks of traditional Anglicanism. Not any longer.

More here

Most clergy opt for safety over full pews

From Boston-

The imposing shadow of Hurricane Irene tested the patience, if not the faith, of clergy and churchgoers throughout Greater Boston yesterday.

Facing howling wind and heavy rain, many churches took the unusual step of canceling or curtailing worship services on a Sunday in August. Churchgoers were left to decide whether to trek out for morning worship. One small church in the Merrimack Valley turned to Facebook for divine intervention.

After canceling its morning service, leaders from Calvary Baptist Church in Haverhill posted a video of one of its choirs singing Psalm 91, and later e-mailed the words to congregants, asking them to meditate on the scripture: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.’’

“We really felt it was a good way to reach out to [members] on a day when we couldn’t gather,’’ said the Rev. Gregory Thomas, pastor of the congregation that draws from the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire.

More here-

Tech savvy faithful get wired for worship

From Indiana-

When the week ends and lazy Sunday rolls around, Shane Bolton can usually be found in the middle of the sanctuary at Faith Baptist in Lafayette.

He's typically clad in a polo shirt and khakis -- suitable attire for a casual church -- with his iPhone in pocket but no Bible in hand.

"I use the iPhone almost for everything," said Bolton, 33. "I use the print (Bible) if I'm out of battery. ... With some of the newer devices out, the iPhone and iPad especially, you are going to see it more and more."

Bolton isn't alone is his e-worship.

The growing number of American adults who own smartphones today -- more than one-third, according to the Pew Internet Project -- is fueling the trend of mobile technology infiltrating churches. While more members of contemporary churches are reading and studying Scripture on their smartphones and other devices, traditional houses of worship have been slow to accept the technological evolution.

More here-

The Nation’s Cruelest Immigration Law

From The New York Times-

The Alabama Legislature opened its session on March 1 on a note of humility and compassion. In the Senate, a Christian pastor asked God to grant members “wisdom and discernment” to do what is right. “Not what’s right in their own eyes,” he said, “but what’s right according to your word.” Soon after, both houses passed, and the governor signed, the country’s cruelest, most unforgiving immigration law.

The law, which takes effect Sept. 1, is so inhumane that four Alabama church leaders — an Episcopal bishop, a Methodist bishop and a Roman Catholic archbishop and bishop — have sued to block it, saying it criminalizes acts of Christian compassion. It is a sweeping attempt to terrorize undocumented immigrants in every aspect of their lives, and to make potential criminals of anyone who may work or live with them or show them kindness.

It effectively makes it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant in Alabama, by criminalizing working, renting a home and failing to comply with federal registration laws that are largely obsolete. It nullifies any contracts when one party is an undocumented immigrant. It requires the police to check the papers of people they suspect to be here illegally.

More here-

Sunday, August 28, 2011

California wins LLWS championship

From ESPN-

Nick Pratto singled with two outs and the bases loaded to give Huntington Beach, Calif., a 2-1 victory Sunday over Hamamatsu City, Japan, and win the Little League World Series.

With runners on first and second, an error by the shortstop on what could have been an inning-ending double play loaded the bases for California. After a force play at the plate, the 12-year-old Pratto smacked a solid liner off a 2-0 pitch for the game-winning hit.

He tossed his helmet into the air after rounding first before his teammates mobbed him in the infield.

"USA! USA," yelled fans before Pratto's single.

The teams exchanged handshakes at the plate before California's giddy players posed at the mound with their new championship banner.

More here-

The eternal C.S. Lewis: now, more than ever

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

In this muddled, manic world of ours, which so often seems on the verge of a nervous breakdown, what possible relevance and comfort can be found in the words of a rumpled Oxford academic best known as an author of children's literature?

Plenty, apparently, for the stature and mystique that surround the life of Clive Staples Lewis has grown to a proportion that would likely perplex even his legendary mind.

Nearly a half century after his death on the same day J.F.K. was assassinated in 1963, Lewis' books have sold 100 million copies in 50 languages; another 2 million copies sell each year. Three movies made from the Chronicles of Narnia series have grossed $500 million.

My own interest began not with Narnia but after reading his classic explanation of the Christian faith, "Mere Christianity." That was 30 years ago and I was instantly charmed by the power of his prose and the clarity of his logic.

Recently, as I learned more, I found the storyline of his faith progression from atheist to advocate even more compelling than the canon of his literature. It's a story not widely known and quite improbable; it's as if the leading atheist of our age, say Richard Dawkins, also of Oxford, suddenly reversed himself to become a Christian evangelist.

Lewis' change of heart was so dramatic as to suggest (to me at least) a providential hand -- that God had a plan for C.S. Lewis that until the midpoint of his life had not yet been revealed.

Read more:

WHITTAKER: The King James Bible turns 400

From MA.

When someone asks me, “What is the Episcopal Church?” I am tempted to respond, “We are the people who gave you the King James Bible.”

That translation, published 400 years ago in 1611, was brought to America by Anglican colonists, members of the Church of England, which became the Episcopal Church after the American Revolution. Over the years, it became so accepted and loved that those opposed to new versions of the Bible often speak as though the King James version was the one originally dictated by God.

The original languages of Scripture were, of course, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Christians, however, do not regard the original text as a revelation that cannot be translated in the way that Muslims view the Quran, whose English renderings are considered merely paraphrases. In the late 4th century, a Latin translation of both the Old and New Testaments was made, mostly by St. Jerome. Known as the Vulgate, it became the standard Bible version in the Western Church.

Come to the grand opening of Holy Trinity Church

From Juneau-

The Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and McPhetres Hall are celebrating our reopening on the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 4. Please join us for thanksgivings, balloons, music, tours, and theatre starting at 1 p.m. (Of course we would be delighted to see you at worship services at 8:30 or 11 a.m.)

Speaking of thanksgiving, we want to reiterate our thanks to the Rasmuson Foundation, the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Theatre in the Rough, Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Northern Light United Church, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Reallife Four Square Church, architect Jeff Robertson, general contractor Southeast Remodel Inc., the craftsman and subcontractors who worked on the building, and hundreds of generous individuals, families, businesses, churches and foundations.

More here-